The ritual of the long Spanish lunch becomes almost otherworldly when enjoyed by the sea, where cool salty breezes temper the relentless Iberian heat, and hazy afternoon slips effortlessly into dusky evening. Still-quivering seafood, pulled from the waters lapping at your feet, is prepared in every way you might hope – whether that’s simply grilled, battered or simmered in a paella.
Perched on the shallow, sandy Platja de Sant Pol, Voramar oozes exactly the kind of laidback atmosphere that attracts people to Spain. Visit with a crowd to share plates of mussels or clams and trays of paella flecked with juicy prawns – plus plenty of free-flowing wine. After your feast, head dizzy from the cool Empordà Macabeu white wine, you can pad out onto the beachfront to sleep off the afternoon under a parasol.
RESTAURANTE EL ALFÉREZ, VEJER DE LA FRONTERA
The pace of life is slow in sun-soaked Vejer de la Frontera – visitors come to eat, sleep and wander the picturesque old town, washed in white. And to hit the nearby beach, where Restaurante El Alférez embodies the decadent mood with its first-rate seafood and fishy fare. Will it be grilled octopus or sea bass tataki? Smoked sardines with curd cheese and green tomato jam, or fat prawns with black sea salt flakes?
Whether you bag one of the shaded wooden tables, or choose to eat perched on your sun lounger, you’ll enjoy Amante’s top asset: the view. Taking in secluded Sol d’en Serra beach, flanked by craggy cliffs and blanketed by turquoise water, the cliffside vantage point is perfect for feasting on chargrilled Galician clams or josper-roasted Formentera squid. Stay until sundown, when skies turn Mai Tai-hues, and real-life cocktails are mixed up at the bar. Try a Hot Oaxaca, starring mezcal, grapefruit, lime, jalapeño and tonic.
When you’re in Portbou, make a detour to seaside Cadaqués, a pretty fishing village that was a favourite of Salvador Dalí. You can visit the artist’s seaside former home in neighbouring Port Lligat, too.
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